Shopping for your first home can be an exciting and daunting experience. Question after question seems to flood your mind as you search for a home; who exactly qualifies as a first time homebuyer? What types of loans and grants are best for first-timers? It helps to heed advice from the experts if you’re not sure how to buy your first home. Here, we’ll share various tips and resources that will help you become a successful homeowner.
Hire a Real Estate Agent, and Do Your Own Research
Working with a real estate agent can save you time and money. The agent can search through available listings with the click of a button and look for properties that meet your requirements. Agents also understand the local market, so they can steer you away from overpriced houses.
It’s also wise to research things on your own accord. Find out the sale prices of comparable properties to make sure you’re paying a fair price. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of the day. Time the drive from your new house to your job. According to Realtor.com, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision about the property.
Negotiate the Costs of a Property
When you find the property that best meets your needs, start negotiating the terms of the sale. If you don’t want to offer the full asking price, suggest a lower number. You may also consider asking the seller to pay for items like a termite inspection, points to the lender or a home warranty plan.
Everyone wants to get a good deal, and that includes the seller. In a hot market, sellers may receive multiple offers on the property and be less willing to accept low ball offers and those that ask them to make too many concessions. The best deals are the ones that benefit both parties, according to Realtor.com.
Base Your Budget on Your Exact Income
Whether you’re paying cash or taking out a mortgage loan, your budget determines which properties you can buy. Bank of America recommends talking to your lender about how much you can afford to pay each month. If you can’t make your payments, the mortgage company can foreclose on the property.
Your budget should take into account more than the property’s sales price. Leave room for repairs, especially if you’re purchasing an older house. You may need to pay for private mortgage insurance if the appraised value of the property is less than 20 percent of the loan value. There are also closing costs and incidentals like setting up utility accounts. There’s a housing authority in every city that can help lower-income buyers find more affordable homes.
Be Flexible When Communicating With Your Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents need to know exactly what their clients are looking for in a house. Spend some time thinking about the features you want. Then decide which features are non-negotiable and which ones you can live without.
No property is perfect, and chances are that you will have to give up some of the features on your “nice to have” list. You may also find that houses that fit your budget may need some repairs or be smaller than you prefer.
Your First Property May Not Always Be Your Primary Residence
You can’t predict the future, but you should consider your plans as you choose a home. If you’re single now but want to get married and have a family, you may want to skip the one-bedroom condo and look for a larger starter home. It’s better to have the space and not use it than need it and not have it.
Chances are you won’t live in your first home forever. If you want to turn a profit when you sell it, look for a house that you think will meet your needs for at least five years. That’s about how long it takes for property values to rise enough to cover all of the expenses you incurred when you bought it, according to Architectural Digest.